Willful Blindness

James Smith, 1856

Walking up High-street the other day, I saw two men before me, who were talking rather loudly, and as I passed them, I heard one of them say, "Ah, there are none so blind as those who will not see!" The words sunk into my mind, and I went on musing on them; and now, reader, I will just tell you a few of my thoughts.

I was going a little way into the country; the sun was shining, the birds were singing, the flowers were opening, and a soft gentle wind was blowing. As I looked around upon creation, and saw its adaptation to man and beast, as I gazed upon its glory, and the marks of design on every part I imagined that there could be no difficulty in reading its Maker's name inscribed upon it. There were proofs of power, wisdom, and benevolence, and exquisite taste everywhere. I thought how impossible it seemed to doubt that this beautiful world was produced by a Divine agent, whose understanding is infinite, whose heart is kind, and whose resources are boundless; and yet know of some who deny the existence of God. "Surely, surely," said I, "the man was right: There are none so blind as those who will not see!"

From the volume of Creation my thoughts turned upon the Bible. How natural it seemed to turn from the Works of God to the Word of God. The eye of my mind passed rapidly over the sacred pages, and I thought, as I considered the histories, the poetry, the predictions, the promises, the facts, the doctrines, the prayers, and the precepts recorded there who can doubt the inspiration of this book? Where shall we find one like it? One so ancient, so sublime, so simple, so impartial, so truthful, so benevolent, so harmonious as this? What man, what number of men could tell us of . . .
the creation of the world,
the history of man,
the nature of God,
the way of salvation, and
the path to glory
as the writers of this book do?

And how could they have done so if they were not inspired? I thought of the external evidences of its authenticity, and the correctness of its claims, and asked: Who can doubt? I considered the internal evidence of its divinity, and said: Here is demonstration who can question? And yet there are some who deny the inspiration of the Bible! "Well," thought I, "the man must be right: There are none so blind as those who will not see!"

From Creation and the Book of Revelation, my thoughts turned to man himself his different races; his ignorance, depravity, degradation; and cruelty; and as I looked at myself and my fellow-man, I thought we could not have been originally created so. Man must have been different once. He must have degenerated, for a being infinitely wise, holy, generous, and kind, as God is, as I learn from Nature and his Word never could have created us thus. No, never! Then occurred to my mind the divine testimony, "God made man upright but they have sought out many inventions!" True, thought I, it must be so!

Then I went over in my mind the history of man's creation, his fall, and his consequent conduct and there I saw all accounted for. Man is not what he originally was. He is not what he ought to be, because he is not what God made him. And yet some have taught that "Man is all right." They deny that his nature is depraved, that the human heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked, that the representations of the Bible are correct. How strange! How astounding is this! How is it to be accounted for? "Again," said I, "the man must be right: There are none so blind as those who mil not see!"

Having proceeded thus far, and as my journey was not completed, my thoughts traveled on; and being affected with the beauties of creation, the character of God, and the state of man, I naturally began to think of what might be the state of God's heart toward his fallen creatures; and was there a possibility of the fallen being restored? Here I felt constrained to bless God for the bible; for what would we have done without it? The Scripture is the only window through which I could look into the heart of God; but through this I can, and I see it beating with infinite, unutterable love! Yes, God loves poor, depraved humanity still. And to express at once the greatness and the design of his love he sent his only begotten Son into the world. Sent him to be our substitute to work out for us a righteousness. Sent him to be a sacrifice and to make an atonement fur our sin. Sent him to testify of his love, to prove his love, and to invite sinners of every class and climate to come and enjoy his love.

Jesus came and opened an infinite fountain, from which proceed streams of the richest and costliest blessings! Here is . . .
for the guilty,
for those who have lost their character,
for the poor,
for the hungry,
for the sick,
for the miserable,
for He lost,
for those who sit in darkness,
and life for the dead!

These blessings are all free. Whoever will, may come and take them. Jesus is the ark and all who flee to him are safe!

Jesus is the hiding-place and all who come to him are secure!

Jesus is the sanctuary and there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus!

Salvation is graciously provided, it is clearly revealed, and it is freely offered. God takes no pleasure in the death of a sinner. Jesus wept because sinners would not come unto him and have life. The Holy Spirit is resisted and grieved when the gospel is put away with contempt.

And yet there are some who reflect upon God, who speak of destruction as inevitable, who excuse themselves, and would charge their damnation upon God if they are lost! While others say that there is no hope for them! Once more, therefore, I am compelled to exclaim, "The man was right: There are none so blind as those who will not see!" For even God himself asks, "What more could have been done to my vineyard that I have not done in it?" And conscience echoes! And, reason re-echoes, What!